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Comparing the 8 Best Credit Card Processing Companies

Nowadays, no business can scale up without accepting credit and debit cards. Be it online payments or physical purchasing; plastic money is becoming the most used medium of exchange.

However, to take the most advantage of bank cards, you will require the services of the best credit card processing companies

Unfortunately, due to a long list of service providers, finding the company that suits you best can get perplexing. You cannot just try them all and settle via trial and error, nor can you toss a coin for selection.

Moreover, you cannot rely on other people’s opinions as each person has a different requirement which may not be similar to yours. Plus, there’s the big question of security. Thankfully, there are payment services that process the payment securely using industry-standard encryption and tokenization. Additionally, in the event of a chargeback or refund, some payment solution providers like Stax provide merchants with tools to manage these transactions, including chargeback alerts, dispute resolution, and refund processing.

So, in the end, it all comes to understanding your own needs and then matching them with the features provided by numerous providers. Then, the company that fulfills your online credit card processing needs most economically and efficiently will be the optimal choice for you.

Our Picks for the Best Credit Card Processing Companies?

credit cards

Wait now! Before you even think about gathering details on every credit card company in your vicinity, let us warn you; there are way too many. You won’t be able to go through all of them and will only get more confused.

So, let us help you out. We have already done our share of research and compiled a list of the top 8 contenders in the credit card industry. We have categorized them according to their unique selling points for your ease. 

According to our panelists, these are the 8 best credit card processing companies:

  1. An Allrounder: Helcim
  2. Low Transaction Volume Expert: PayPal
  3. Cheapest in terms of Fee: National Processing
  4. Best Merchant Service for online business: Stripe
  5. eCommerce Expert: CDGcommerce 
  6. Easiest to Setup: Square
  7. Best for High-Risk Businesses: PaymentCloud
  8. Large Volume Expert: Stax by Fattmerchant

We have explained each of them in detail below so that you can understand their workings and make the right choice.

Why Do We Think These Are The Best Credit Card Processing Companies?

It’s fair for you to question our choices as the ultimate decision would be yours. Therefore we are breaking down our selection methodology for you. It will help you understand why only these 8 made it to our list while the rest didn’t. 

Our experts went through hundreds of service providers and looked at several factors before narrowing it down to the top 8. They then categorized the best credit card processing companies by comparing their features:

Specifically, we rated companies based on the below-given criteria:

Ease of Use

The first thing we did was to sift through the best-rated credit card processing companies and find out whether they were easy to use. We looked at how easy they were to set up and how swiftly can we import data and invoice through them.

Only those companies that accepted all standard credit cards and we’re PCI compliant made it you our list.

Cost and Fees

Secondly, we gave preference to those companies that offered flat monthly fees. However, we also picked a few services with high monthly payments as they offered low transaction fees and numerous features to make up for it.

To narrow our list, we assess total cost differences between providers with month subscriptions or transaction fees and balance it with the benefits or extra software options provided.

Customer Services

The next thing we valued was customer support. We picked companies that offered various customer service options such as hotlines, an extensive knowledge base, and live chat. 24/7 customer support was a must when making a choice for the best high-volume processor,  

Functionality

Lastly, we compared functionality by looking at features offered, including but not limited to software integrations, invoicing, data exports, and reporting dashboards.

To narrow the choices, we looked for providers that offered plenty of integrations along with syncing capabilities with your CMS, POS systems, and accounting. Moreover, we combed through processing times to gauge efficiency.

Indeed, only after rigorous examinations did we finalize our choice of the best credit card processing companies. So let us now dissect each of our reputable merchant providers to know what makes them unique.

An Allrounder: Helcim

Type: Merchant account provider.

Rating: 4.5

Price: From 0.3% plus $0.08 per transaction 

We found Helcim to be the jack of all trades among the best credit card processing company. By providing volume-based discounts and transparent pricing, Helcim offers businesses the to scale quite economically.

Founded in 2006, Helcim expanded from a payment processor to a financial technology company and now offers numerous business solutions. Moreover, as it doesn’t charge monthly fees and rewards large volumes, Helcim is optimal for small and large business owners.

Furthermore, it is a Level 1 PCI-DSS compliant company and follows top-notch security protocols. Last but not least, Helcim can be integrated with WooCommerce and QuickBooks.

The best part is that you can transform any device such as a Point of sale (POS) system, Customer management, and Payments app into a workhorse using Helcim’s cloud programs. Owing to all these features, it is our best overall choice. 

Acceptable Payments

You can use Helcim to accept payments such as:

  • Visa
  • American Express
  • Mastercard
  • Discover
  • Google Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • JCB
  • Pin debit cards

Fee Rates

Helcim offers one straightforward plan that includes interchange fees plus transaction fees based on volume. In addition, you don’t have to pay any monthly subscription. Lastly, your money gets transferred to your bank within 2 business days. 

Pros

  • Inventory management and CRM tools integrated
  • Top-notch customer support
  • Generous volume-based discounts
  • Easy to sign up

Cons

  • Just 1 fee plan to choose from
  • 1 type of hardware

Low Transaction Volume Expert: PayPal

Category: Payment service provider

Rating: 4.2.

Price: In-person transactions fee is 2.29% + 9 cents per transaction; for online 2.59% + 49 cents per transaction.

PayPal is in business since 1998 and is a trusted name worldwide. It made it to our list of the best credit card processing companies because millions of online storefronts use it. PayPal is essential for stores in this era because it offers optimal services to businesses with low transaction volumes. 

Moreover, PayPal boasts many PCI compliance certifications, such as Visa Cardholder Information Security Program and Mastercard Site Data Protection Program. So it is practically very sound secure.

Moving on, PayPal is pretty easy to set up as well. You just need to create an account, and within 5 minutes, you can start accepting payments. For brick and mortar transactions, you will require a credit card processor.

Lastly, if there is a point of sale system at your business, PayPal can integrate with it. Your QuickBooks, Shopify accounts, Revel Systems, TouchBistro, and Constant Contact can also be connected with it.

Acceptable Payments

PayPal is accepting payments such as:

  • Visa
  • Discover
  • American Express
  • Mastercard
  • Venmo
  • PayPal credit cards 

Fee Rates

Paypal has no startup costs or monthly fees, so it is excellent for small businesses who wish to accept payments quickly. Of course, they charge extra fees, but businesses with low transactions rarely come across them. 

Last but not least, PayPal pays you rather quickly. Once the payment is authorized, it gets transferred to your bank account within 24 hours. There is also an option to get it instantly if you are willing to pay an extra 1%.  

Pros

  • Fast and easy to use
  • Hassle-free setup
  • Mobile wallet option available
  • Optimal for businesses with a small sales figure
  • No monthly subscription 

Cons

  • Expensive for high transaction volume 
  • Suspension of the fund on suspicion of fraudulent activity
  • 24/7 phone support is not available 

Cheapest in Terms of Fees: National Processing

Type: Payment service provider. 

Rating: 4.4

Price: interchange plus 0.20% plus $0.10 

Providing service from 2007, National Processing charges flat rate pricing and offers free mobile credit card processing. Thanks to its reliable service and transparency, it has earned many good reviews and earned a solid spot amongst the best credit card companies. 

By offering the cheapest pricing at just $9.95 per month, it is a clear winner for the lowest fees and best online payment systems for small businesses. The company also has options for larger businesses with a $59 monthly subscription, a $0.09 fee, and an interchange rate per transaction.

Moreover, National Processing is also PCI-compliant and can be integrated with renowned software, such as QuickBooks, Shopify, and BigCommerce.

So if you are looking for the cheapest credit card processing service, there is no one better than National Processing. It provides budget-friendly services and accepts all forms of direct payment, making it perfect as the best payment gateway for small businesses.

Acceptable Payments

You can use National Processing to accept payments such as:

  • Visa
  • Discover
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Electronic checks
  • Online transactions

Fee Rate

With a transparent pricing model and minimum interchange-plus rate system, you can quickly figure out your costs for credit card processing. For each plan, you’ll pay in 3 forms: 

  1. monthly charge
  2. interchange rate
  3. transaction fees

Moreover, the National Processing transfers your funds within 1 to 3 days. Lastly, customer support is available 24/7 via telephone and email.

They will quickly resolve your queries and help you integrate your existing systems with National Processing payment gateways. Summing it up, it is both the quickest and cheapest way to accept credit card payments.

Pros

  • Offers choices of plans
  • Lowest fees
  • Transparent pricing
  • Free hardware

Cons

  • Early termination fee may apply
  • Equipment prices and eCheck processing fees aren’t on the website
  • No mobile payment app

Best Merchant Services for Online Business: Stripe

card

Category: Payment service provider. 

Rating: 4.5

Price: 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

Stripe provides a bundle of the features that online businesses require in one go. Founded in 2011, this card processor is top-rated due to the vast customization it provides.

Thanks to its flexible integration with various business systems and flat rates, Stripe quickly made it to the best credit card processing companies category.

Moreover, as it is a PCI Level 1 Service Provider, it is a safe platform that abides by the latest regulations and ensures the highest level of security. It also offers 24/7 customer support via email and chat. However, there is no call option present at the moment.

Stripe seamlessly blends with any business’s hardware and soft by providing hundreds of integrations. It can easily be connected with popular software such as WooCommerce, Mailchimp, and QuickBooks. Additionally, it also provides its own business programs like:

  • Stripe Billing
  • Radar for Fraud Teams
  • Stripe Connect
  • Stripe Sigma
  • Stripe Atlas

Acceptable Payments

Stripes accept many payment types including: 

  • Visa
  • Discover
  • Mastercard
  • JCB
  • Apple Pay 
  • American Express
  • Google Pay
  • Visa Checkout Amex Express Checkout 
  • Masterpass by Mastercard 
  • Microsoft Pay
  • WeChat Pay
  • Alipay
  • International payment options 

Fee Rates

Stripe’s flat-rate pricing offers flexibility, and as there is no monthly subscription nor the need to meet a minimum volume, it works best for online retailers. You can develop custom pricing plans for yourself. Furthermore, you can avail of discounts if you process more than $100,000 in a month. 

Even though Stripes takes some time to transfer first payments, typically, it takes 2 days for funds to reach your bank account. You can also opt for instant payouts. Summing it up, Stripe is regarded as one of the most reliable credit card processing for small businesses with no monthly fee.

Pros

  • It can be integrated with business software
  • Custom pricing 
  • Mobile wallet payments are acceptable

Cons

  • 7- day waiting period for high-risk businesses 
  • No phone support
  • Fraudulent activity may lead to the freezing of funds

ECommerce Expert: CDGcommerce 

Type: Payment service provider.

Rating: 4.0

Price: Interchange plus 0.25% + 10 cents

CDGcommerce has been in business for more than twenty years and has made its mark as one of the best credit card processing companies. The main focus of this merchant account service is on small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses. However, CDG also offers various options for retail merchants.

Additionally, CDGcommerce is optimal for startups as it allows them to onboard quickly and lets them start payment processing right away. It is amongst the very few companies which offer a completely free payment gateway. Moreover, CDG doesn’t charge a setup fee, nor is there any monthly subscription or extra per-transaction processing rates.

At CDG, merchant accounts have free virtual terminal access, which allows them to process transactions from all internet-connected computers. In addition, business owners can use either key in transactions manually or make use of an optional card reader. 

Fee Rates

The best thing about CDG is that its contracts are month-to-month and can be canceled at any time. It provides users provided with various aspects of a CDG-proprietary POS system without charging any monthly and minimal flat fee.

For an additional charge, CDG allows users full access to its PastePay functionality. This includes numerous marketing and business reporting solutions.

Lastly, CDGcommerce has removed many excessive fees such as account setup fees, monthly minimums, and PCI compliance fees, making it more affordable. So, all in all, CDG is regarded as one of the best credit card processing companies for small businesses.

Pros

  • Free virtual terminal and payment gateway 
  • No termination fees
  • Transparent pricing

Cons

  • For US-based merchants only
  • High-risk businesses may not be accepted

Easiest to Set Up: Square

Category: Payment service provider. 

Rating: 4.4

Price: For in-person payments, fee is 2.6% + 10 cents / transaction.

Square has been providing credit card processing services since 2009. It has become a household name due to its range of services and excellent customer support. However, it is our top contender for the best credit card processing companies because it can be set up in 5 minutes,

Square complies with PCI regulations. Moreover, Its security protocols and end-to-end encryption, are the best in the industry. But you need to get the Square reader to start processing. 

Furthermore, Square offers plenty of integrations such as QuickBooks, Zero, and IFTTT. Additionally, you get a free POS system compatible with Android and Apple devices. Lastly, Square also provides other solutions like:

  • Loyalty programs
  • Website design
  • Payroll services
  • Appointment software

Acceptable Payments

Square accepts all major credit cards like:

  • Visa
  • American Express
  • Mastercard
  • Discover
  • JCB
  • Consumer credit cards
  • UnionPay 
  • Business credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Prepaid cards 

Fee Rates

Square has a unique fee system. All users have to pay a flat rate. Then there is a monthly subscription, chargeback, and termination fees. Additionally, Square transfers your funds within 1 to 2 business days. There is an option for instant transfer as well, which requires an additional fee of 1.5% fee. 

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Free Point of Sale software
  • Many equipment options

Cons

  • Phone support is not 24/7
  • Fund are held based on suspicion

Best for High-Risk Merchants: PaymentCloud

Category: Merchant service provider. 

Rating: 4.1

Price: Quote Based

All sorts of business owners have used PaymentCloud since 2015. It maintains a large customer base due to the multiple solutions it provides for both in-store and online transactions. 

It is amongst the best credit card processing companies because it offers competitive rates, to those who have trouble qualifying elsewhere. Moreover, it is PCI-compliant and helps in integrating with programs such as WooCommerce, Wix, and WordPress. 

As high-risk companies face many obstacles, PaymentCloud provides them with a dedicated account manager. This person then determines their fee structure and helps them in the integration of essential software and hardware.

Therefore each business is charged differently according to their risk, and you won’t find fee information on the website. Last but not least, PaymentCloud also offers free EMV readers for POS equipment.

Acceptable Payments

PaymentCloud accepts payments via:

  • Visa
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Mastercard
  • Star
  • Apple Pay
  • Union Pay

Fee Rates

As fee rates vary depending upon the risk, there is no payment info on the site. Each business will be quoted a different price based on its plan. However, Paymentcloud is quick at transferring funds, and you get them in your account as soon as the next day.y

Pros

  • Fast approval of applications
  • Easy setup
  • Next day fund transfer
  • Dedicated account manager

Cons

  • Pricing info is not on the website
  • Pricing differs due to risk
  • Early termination fees apply

Large Volume Expert: Stax by Fattmerchant

Category: Payment service provider. 

Rating: 4.3

Price: $99 per month + $0.08 cents per transaction 

Stax by Fattmerchant is perfect for businesses with large volumes as it provides subscription-based service with no markup on interchange rates. Since 2014, Fatt-merchant has been dedicated to its name, an acronym Fast, Affordable, Transaction, Technology. 

As Stax provides excellent service with tons of add-ons and affordability, it made it to our top 8 best credit card processing companies. The best thing about Stax is its volume-friendly plans, making it ideal for large businesses.

Furthermore, Fattmerchant is a Level 1 PCI Service Provider and ensures top-notch security via end-to-end encryption and tokenization. The company provides you with a variety of tools and support to help you stay PCI-compliant 

Additionally, Stack can be integrated with popular platforms such as QuickBooks, WooCommerce, Salesforce, and many POS systems. Last but not least, it is pretty easy to sign up for Stax. With a 5 -minute application process, you can start your account and wait for approval to begin accepting payments.

Acceptable Payments

Fattmerchant accepts all major credit cards, including: 

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Pin Debit
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • JCB Dining 
  • EBT
  • Wex
  • Health Flex
  • Voyager

Fee Rates

Stax has 2 plans that you can choose from, which can be canceled at any time. However, the structure of fees has only one payment format, and you have to pay separate monthly fees for every service. You also have to pay a monthly subscription, transaction fees, and the interchange rate. 

Pros

  • Billing and invoicing tools
  • 0% markup on interchange rates
  • Virtual terminals

Cons

  • Expensive monthly subscription
  • Not for low-volume processing

FAQ’s

What is Credit Card Processing?

If you are a business owner who wants to accept credit cards, or mobile payments, then what you need is credit card processing. This refers to a multi-step process necessary which helps businesses complete payments via a service provider.

Credit card processing requires devices such as card terminals and mobile readers, which can be leased or purchased from credit card processing companies.

How Do Merchant Providers Work?

Merchant providers provide you with the tools and requirements to accept credit cards and other forms of electronic payment. Then they connect the credit card network with thousands of issuing banks and your banking services.

To ensure a safe environment, merchant providers are PCI-compliant and use advanced encryption methods.

What Equipment Do I Need To Accept Credit Cards?

You can require different types of equipment depending on your merchant service provider’s requirements. For example, it can be a Square phone device to a kiosk or a card terminal at the checkout counter. 

What Are the Costs of Credit Card Processing?

Costs of Credit Card Processing depend upon your need as well as your selection of merchant provider. Usually, credit card services are charged per transaction and offer monthly subscription programs. Most companies provide an interchange-plus pricing model. 

What Is The Best Card Reader for Small Businesses?

There are many credit card machines for small businesses. But according to us, Zettle by PayPal and Square card reader is currently the best ones in the market.

Which Company Provides Cheapest Credit Card Processing for Small Businesses?

Many companies provide cheap credit card processing and payment solutions for small businesses, but the best ones include PayPal and National Processing.

Some Final Words

We hope you find our list of the top 8 best credit card processing companies helpful. But a word of caution. Don’t just go through it and make your decision instantly. Remember, the selection of a merchant provider affects you in the long term, so think wisely before choosing.

To select optimally, first review your projected credit card payment volume. Then find out what payment options your customers prefer (cash register, online, or mobile devices). Finally, assess your budget and compare all of this with what the companies mentioned above provide.

PS: Don’t forget to assess customer support and extra services as they come in handy. 

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